Celebrating 20 Years of YES Program: A Spectacular Journey Unfolds in India
In the heart of India, the 20th-anniversary celebration of the YES Program unfolded
in two distinct phases, creating an atmosphere of joy, reflection, and shared
commitment. The first phase commenced in the vibrant city of Bangalore on
3 December 2023, followed by the second phase in the capital city, New Delhi, on
7 December 2023.
Bangalore Celebration – 3 December 2023: The inaugural session in Bangalore, graced by the esteemed National Director, Ms. Diya Badgel, set the tone for the grand celebration.
A highlight of the event was the insightful keynote session delivered by Ms. Keri Dooley, Executive Vice President of Compliance and Government Relations of AFS USA, providing a global perspective on the profound impact of the YES Program over the past two decades. The agenda also featured engaging presentations by enthusiastic YES alumni, showcasing their impactful community service projects since their return from the program.
A notable session in Bangalore was led by the alumni who generously shared valuable insights into Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
They actively guided fellow alumni in creating impactful social projects aligned with these global goals. The event in Bangalore concluded with a symbolic cake-cutting ceremony and a delightful dinner, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and celebration. Throughout the event, the mood among the alumni was one of jubilation and shared pride. The atmosphere was electric as alumni, spanning different batches, came together, sharing experiences, insights, and fostering a sense of community. This gathering of around 50 YES alumni from different batches added a vibrant and diverse dimension to the celebration, reflecting the rich legacy and continued commitment of alumni to the YES Program’s ideals.
New Delhi Celebration – 7 December 2023:
Moving to the grandeur of New Delhi, the celebration continued with a dynamic
agenda. The National Director, Ms. Diya Badgel, opened the session, setting the stage
for an enriching day. The atmosphere was further charged with an address by Ms. Keri
Dooley, Executive Vice President, Compliance and Government Relations of AFS USA,
providing a global perspective on the significant impact of the YES Program over the
past two decades. The gathering was then honored by the presence of Mr. CJ Woods,
Public Diplomacy Officer from the US Embassy, who shared valuable insights and
guidance with the alumni. A lively FAQ session followed, where alumni had the
opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with Mr. Woods. The Alumni
Coordinator, Ms. Ridhima Chhabra from the US Embassy in India took the stage to
conduct an insightful Grant Workshop, providing valuable information and guidance. A
subsequent Q&A session allowed alumni to delve deeper into the intricacies of the
grant process. Notably, 40 YES alumni attended the event, adding to the vibrancy of
In addition to this, heartfelt gratitude was extended to the US Embassy for their
steadfast support and the numerous opportunities provided to the YES Program over
the years. Their unwavering commitment has been instrumental in shaping the
experiences and journeys of countless alumni, fostering a deep sense of appreciation
A unique feature of the Delhi celebration was a compelling panel discussion on the
‘Role of Alumni as Change Makers’. Alumni from diverse fields, including Health,
Education, Environment, Art, Literature, and more, actively participated, sharing
their experiences and insights. The session evolved into a lively FAQ session, delving
into the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role alumni
play in advancing these global objectives.
Both celebrations concluded with a symbolic cake-cutting ceremony, symbolizing the
sweet success of the YES Program over two decades. The events not only celebrated
the program’s rich history but also emphasized the role of alumni in effecting positive
change. The dinners that followed were filled with warmth, laughter, and a sense of
In essence, the 20th-anniversary celebration in India was a testament to the
transformative power of the YES Program and the enduring commitment of alumni
to make a meaningful impact on the world. The presence of around 90 YES alumni
added vibrancy, reflecting the rich legacy and continued commitment of alumni to
the YES Program’s ideals. The mood was electric, and alumni shared their experiences,
thoughts, and a sense of shared pride and purpose throughout the event.
Here’s to the past 20 years and the promise of continued excellence in the years to come!